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Re: book discussion isn't history, is it?

Jul 06, 1995 12:20 PM
by K. Paul Johnson

According to Brenda S. Tucker:
> (This is from a post by Lewis Lucas.)
> > I would like to express support for your attempt to offer a
critque of Paul Johnson's books.  I have to agree with you.  It
certainly does appear to me that Paul is the one who keeps moving
the discussion to the emotional level.

Exactly so! But not in the sense you seem to mean, I reckon.  An
ostensibly intellectual analysis, when presented in a
confrontational, accusing, condemning way, EXPRESSES intense
emotions without "owning" them by saying "I feel ...." When the
consciousness is focused in the thinking function, unconscious
feeling can totally contaminate communication.  I indeed move the
discussion to the emotional level in terms of acknowledging
what's going on and talking about it instead of acting out.
Productive intellectual exchange simply CANNOT occur in an
atmosphere of bitter emotional attack-- at least not for me.

> I don't know if this is relevant or not, but does anyone know
if PaulJohnson's career is writing or teaching? I might be quite
emotional myself if I were attempting to earn a living writing
books (as opposed to participating in entertaining discussions or
being occupied with my favorite pasttime or hobby).

I've been a public librarian throughout my career, writing
entirely as a non-remunerative sideline.  My emotions (hurt,
resentment mostly) at being attacked by fellow Theosophists have
very little to do with my sense of self as a writer or scholar,
and EVERYTHING to do with being treated as a heretic, enemy, "not
really one of us" etc.  The pain is in the part of me that feels,
essentially, "I love Theosophy and HPB, have done my best to
prove that the Masters are real, and all these people hate me for
it-- WAAAH!"

He seems to be a middle-aged student of theosophy whose

> book contains enough research to make me believe that he is
researching and writing full-time.

Thanks! But maybe if I'd had full time to devote to it my
research and writing would be a lot better.  I'm 41 BTW.  What
kind of work, Paul, did you do when you were young

> (or before your first book on theosophy)? Did your talent in
writing come from university study?

So far no one has accused me of having any, except perhaps a
talent for rhetorically misleading readers into thinking there's
evidence where there's none :) I did like to write term papers,
though.  Grace Knoche encouraged me to write for Sunrise years
ago, and that was really the start, along with taking a library
job that required lots of writing.

BTW, for those who may have seen no reviews of The Masters
Revealed, here's my report card thus far.  A is strongly
positive, B is somewhat positive, C is somewhat negative, D is
strongly negative.  Others may perceive the same reviews
differently, of course:

Claire Walker, in Reflections, A
Edward Hower, in New York Times Book Review, A+
Joy Mills, in The Quest, A-
Richard Smoley, in Parabola, B-
Anon, in SF Bookdealer's Journal, B
Jerry H-E, forthcoming, B-
John Cooper, Australian Theosophist, A
John Algeo, American Theosophist, D-
John Algeo, Theosophical History, C-

Plus recent favorable mentions by Stephan Hoeller in Gnosis,
Jay Kinney in Gnosis, Robert Ellwood in Theosophical History.

BTW all but Kinney, Smoley and possibly anon are FTS.

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